Welcome toBig Heart World
Big Heart World is an initiative produced by Sparkler in collaboration with Noggin that enables parents and educators to help children explore what it means to have a “big heart” and how to grow one. This means:
- Learning About Me — Awareness of self: identity & belonging, feelings and self-regulation
- Learning About You — Awareness of others: empathy, appreciation of diversity
- Learning About Us — Relationships with others: interpersonal strategies
To succeed in school and in life, children can’t just be little mathematicians, readers, and scientists; they need to grow confident in themselves; they need to understand others; and they need to work together with others to solve problems. Educators and pediatricians often refer to this set of skills as “social and emotional” skills. We like to think of them as what it takes to have “a big heart.”
“Heart” skills are always important, but they are especially top-of-mind today as we cope with global pandemic, inequality, and social discord. Families and educators are wondering:
- How can I help my child manage feelings, especially anger, frustration, and sadness?
- How can I help my child develop social and communication skills when they’re separate from peers?
- How can I prepare my child to “phase back in” and restart “normal” life?
Big Heart World is a place where parents, caregivers, and educators can ask and answer big questions related to children’s social and emotional learning. If you’re wondering how to help your child express their feelings, figure out friendships, share, get ready to go back into a classroom, or learn what makes them special, this site is for you. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the pandemic, school closures, and endless change and transition, this site is for you. If you feel like you can’t handle one more tantrum and you want to know what your child is really trying to tell you when they act out, this site is for you.
Each month, Big Heart World will provide new science-based, engaging content, including Noggin’s Big Heart Beats music videos, answers from experts, podcasts, play-based learning activities, and more.
The work draws from a body of research that recognizes the vital importance of these skills to children’s positive outcomes. Social and emotional development in early childhood lays the foundation for children’s development throughout life. Helping young children build the skills today to develop positive relationships, feel confident in themselves, identify and manage their emotions, and stand up for what is right, will help them to succeed in school and transform them into the leaders and change-makers of tomorrow (C. C. Raver, 2002).
Below, learn more about the themes Big Heart World will explore so you know what to expect.
We’ve all been through a lot in the last year. Take a deep breath. Let’s build up ourselves; let’s build up our kids. Let’s build big hearts.
How wonderful would it be if everyone lived in a Big Heart World?
Helping: Unit 7
“Everybody can be great … because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.” — Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
“None of us, including me, ever do great things. But we can all do small things, with great love, and together we can do something wonderful.” — Mother Teresa
“If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else.” — Booker T. Washington
Every person — big or small — is presented with opportunities to be a helper every day.
Helping can be a small gesture, such as pitching in to clear the dishes after dinner. Or it can be a lifelong endeavor, like keeping the Earth clean. Even big problems can be made better by one small person doing one small thing. You and your child can make a difference, and that simple fact can be empowering!
Whether they’re taking on big or small problems, when children help, they are building connections. community, independence, and interdependence.
Research shows that children innately want to help, and when adults allow them to help, helping becomes a habit that they practice as children and as they grow up!
One of the BEST ways to encourage children to be helpers, is to be a helper yourself! When you help others in your family and community, you lead the way for your child!
As children explore the activities, books, music, and other content from Unit 7, they will start to understand that they have the power to help — at home, in their community, and even the whole world! They will learn to recognize when help is needed, find ways to help individually or as a part of a team, and take action to make things better. And they will start to recognize the emotional rewards of helping, both to themselves and to others. Young children are natural helpers; now is the time to nurture that inclination, so that they can continue to find satisfaction in helping others as they grow.
Big Heart World: What to Expect
What does it mean to have a big heart? That’s a BIG question! Big Heart World will roll out content each month, which will empower you to teach your children about “me” (identity & belonging, feelings, and similarities & differences), then about “others” (friendship, empathy, and problem solving), and about “us” (helping, standing up, and citizenship). Here’s what to expect:
Interacting with others and treating them with kindness helps us form strong relationships.
Sharing, listening to others, solving problems together, and taking turns helps us collaborate with others.
Being kind, fair, and helping others helps us become great friends, neighbors, and community members.
When we see something wrong, we can learn to stand up for what’s right. Learning to stand up will help children grow up to be change-makers.
Each of us is part of a BIG world: together, we can make the world a better, kinder place.